The Emperor of China heard that the nightingale was the very best songbird in the Empire. He therefore had the bird brought to his castle where it sang sweetly for him day in and day out.
One day, a messenger from Japan brought a gift – a mechanical nightingale. The artificial bird was studded with diamonds, rubies and sapphires, and when you wound it up, it sang while bobbing its tale. Everyone wanted to listen to the artificial bird, so the real nightingale one day flew out the open window – back to its green forests.
One day, the artificial bird broke, and even if the royal clockmaker managed to repair it, it was now able to sing only once a year. Five years later, the Emperor lay on his deathbed, but when everyone thought it was over, the nightingale returned and chased Death away with his song. The Emperor was deeply grateful and asked the bird how he could reward him. The nightingale answered that the tears he drew from Emperor’s eyes the first time he sang to him were the jewels that rejoice a singer’s heart.